by David McCullough
Simon & Schuster, 2019, 331 pages, Nonfiction
As the Founding Fathers were settling the terms of the Treaty of Paris and busily creating the Constitution, others were already setting their sights on the possibilities offered in the West. This is the story of the first generation of one of the first pioneer settlements in Ohio, from its start in the late 1780s and through its evolution as an established community.
David McCullough is well known for the incredible amount of research he puts into his books, and that effort shows here. Relying on journal entries, letters, and other books written about the subject, McCullough paints a vivid picture of the lives of six of the prominent founding members of the town of Marietta, Ohio. Although this view of settling the West is rather narrow, it allows the reader to experience what it was really like to start completely over in a brand new place, and to see all the effort that goes into building a brand new community.
Those who enjoy detailed histories of a specific place like this one will also be interested in local histories. I especially recommend Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s House Full of Females, and even more locally, D. Robert Carter’s series of Provo history, starting with Founding Fort Utah.